Public Service Commissioner Gordon de Brouwer's affirmation of his commitment to APS integrity and capability in his first State of the Service report is timely given the sacking of Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo on Monday.
Mr Pezzullo, who was stood down after leaked text messages revealed he had unloaded on politicians he didn't like and promoted the ones he did, was found to have committed 14 APS Code of Conduct breaches by an independent inquiry.
He is the second senior mandarin to depart under a cloud in less than six months. Kathryn Campbell, Human Services secretary at the time of robodebt, was suspended without pay from a plum role in Defence shortly after the release of the robodebt royal commission report.
Ms Campbell, who was found to have given misleading advice to cabinet about the legality of income averaging, allowing the unlawful scheme to roll on, resigned on July 21.
Coming at a time when the fallout from the PwC tax scandal is still being assessed these high level departures - which cut straight to the politicisation of the APS over decades - highlight the need to rebuild capability within all departments so bureaucrats are able to give ministers "frank, fearless and independent" advice.
The national interest is not served by political operators in the upper levels of the APS who seek to advance their own interests by telling their political masters what they think they want to hear.
Imagine how much grief, and taxpayers' money, would have been saved if Ms Campbell had paid more attention to what was legal than to what was politically expedient?
While it is refreshing the Albanese government has adopted a very different approach to the APS than its predecessor and is committed to reform, this is a journey that has just begun.
The damage caused by decades of politicisation, outsourcing and neglect cannot be undone overnight - or even in a single term.
Both the Department of Home Affairs and the social services portfolio have suffered significant reputational damage.
The reliance on big four consultants who knew the best way to maximise their take was to rationalise what the government wanted to do has left other departments, including Defence, bereft of in-house skills and institutional memory.
The newly appointed head of Home Affairs, former acting secretary Stephanie Foster, has a massive task ahead of her.
While the Australian Federal Police are now back under the umbrella of the Attorney-General's Department - which is as it should be - Ms Foster is still the head of a super department with wide ranging powers and responsibilities.
The point was made earlier this week Home Affairs is the most litigated against of any government department.
Its portfolio of agencies includes the Australian Border Force, ASIO and the National Emergency Management Agency. Its responsibilities include national security, transport security, cyber security, emergency management and multicultural affairs.
That is a lot of power to concentrate in the hands of one department and one departmental secretary.
One of the criticisms made against Mr Pezzullo was that he surrounded himself by like-minded people and did not brook contradiction or dissent.
Ms Foster must clean the vestiges of that leadership model out of her department root and branch.
Much will be read into any changes of key personnel within the Home Affairs Department in the months to come.